Neches Basin Lakes & Rivers

Below is a list of the major lakes and rivers within the Neches river basin. You can click on most of the names to be taken to the Texas Parks & Wildlife website for recreational information about each lake. You can also continue reading on this page for historical information and facts about each reservoir.

Lake Athens

Location:
Lake Athens, previously known as Flat Creek Reservoir, is located in the Neches River Basin in Henderson County, 8 miles east of Athens on Flat Creek, a tributary of the Neches River.

Ownership and History of Development:
The project is owned and operated by the Athens Municipal Water Authority for municipal water supply, flood regulation, and recreation.

Permit No. 1915 (Application No. 2079) dated September 26, 1958 from the State Board of Water Engineers authorized the Authority to construct a dam and store storm, flood, and unappropriated waters of Flat Creek. The Permit allows storage of 32,840 acre-feet of water and annual diversion of 8,500 acre-feet of water for municipal use. Time for beginning construction was extended to September 26, 1960 by Permit No. 1915B, dated November 3, 1960, by order of the State Board of Water Engineers.

Construction began September 25, 1961, and the dam closure was made and deliberate impoundment of water started November 1, 1962. The project was completed at the end of May 1963.

Record of contents of reservoir published by U. S. Geological Survey since October 1964.

Physical Description:
The dam is a rolled-earth structure 2,940 feet long and with maximum height of 67 feet and the top of the dam at elevation 453.0 feet above msl. The embankment has a maximum bottom width of 528 feet, top width of 20 feet, and contains about 650,000 cubic yards of material. The upstream face is protected with 18-inches of rock riprap from elevation 433.0 to 448.0 feet above msl.

The reservoir has a capacity of 32,790 acre-feet and a surface area of 1,520 acres at the service spillway crest elevation of 440.0 feet above msl, and a capacity of 42,600 acre-feet at emergency spillway crest elevation of 446.0 feet above msl. Invert of lowest outlet is at elevation 396.5 feet above msl with dead storage of about 50 acre-feet below that elevation.

Reservoir capacities and surface areas based on U. S. Geological Survey topographic maps dated 1949 and 1950.

The drainage area of Flat Creek above the dam is 21.6 square miles.

The emergency spillway located to the left of the dam is an uncontrolled broad-crested weir with crest length of 300 feet at elevation 446.0 feet above msl with the discharge through a graded unpaved area.

The service spillway consists of an uncontrolled rectangular box-type drop inlet with crest at elevation 440.0 feet above msl, which connects to a 6- by 6-foot concrete box culvert extending through the dam with outlet end at elevation 352.0 feet above msl. The discharge enters a prepared channel and thence to the creekbed.

The low-flow outlet is an 18-inch prestressed concrete pipe encased in concrete extending through the embankment with invert at elevation 396.5 feet above msl. The flow is controlled by a slide valve on the entrance end operated by a 164-foot-long rod supported on concrete blocks on the embankment slope up to the top of the dam. A gate valve is installed on the discharge end of the pipe for further control of the discharge.

Water is pumped from the reservoir to the filter and treatment plant in Athens through an 18-inch pipeline by deep-well-type turbine pumps installed in the suction pipes at an angle to the horizontal. Provisions are made for two additional pumps when required. The intakes are located on the right bank of the reservoir about 2 miles upstream from the dam.

Lake Nacogdoches

Lake Nacogdoches and associated Loco Dam are owned by the City of Nacogdoches and are located on Bayou Loco, a tributary of the Angelina River, a tributary of the Neches River. The facility is in Nacogdoches County approximately 10 miles west of Nacogdoches, Tx.. Dam construction commenced in June of 1975. Deliberate impoundment occurred on May 4, 1976. Freese, Nichols and Endress Consulting Engineers of Fort Worth, Tx. designed the facility. Talon Construction Company of Addison, Tx. was the general contractor.

The dam's structure is a rolled earthen embankment, approximately 4,350 feet in length and 50 feet tall above the natural streambed. The service spillway is a concrete "Morning Glory" designed drop inlet. The 25 foot diameter crest is at elevation 279.0 ft. msl. The emergency spillway (earthen cut channel) is located at the west end of the embankment and is approximately 500 feet wide with a crest elevation of 286.0 feet msl. The outlet works consist of three valve controlled gates housed in a concrete tower near the service spillway drop inlet. The gates are 3 feet by 3 feet and are at elevation 235.9, 252.8 and 269.7 feet. Records indicate the drainage area for Lake Nacogdoches is 89.2 square miles.

The Texas Water Commission issued Water Rights Permit #2560 (Application #2783) to the City of Nacogdoches on May 6, 1970 authorizing the impoundment of 41,140 acre-feet of water and the use, not to exceed 22,000 acre-feet of water per annum for municipal purposes. It also granted the permitee to use the impounded waters for recreational purposes. A change in the capacity computations for the reservoir required an amendment to the permit that was issued June 28, 1977. The revised calculations showed, and the amended permit authorized, the impoundment of 42,318 acre-feet of water. Certificate of Adjudication #4864 was issued February 19, 1987. It granted the same impoundment and uses as Permit #2560A. An amendment to Certificate of Adjudication #4864 was issued on June 17, 1988. It increased the rate of diversion from 6.22 cfs (2,800 gpm) to 62.2 cfs (28,000 gpm).

Lake Naconiche

Official Name: Multi-Purpose Site 23a, Attoyac Bayou Watershed Project

Location: Approximately 13 Miles Northeast Of The City Of Nacogdoches And 6 Miles Southwest Of The City Of Garrison, Nacogdoches County, Texas. Dam Is Approximately 400 Yard North And West Of Us Highway 59.

Class Of Structure: B
Elevation Top Of Dam: 365 Ft. N.G.V.D.
Elevation Crest Of Emergency Spillway: 355 Ft. N.G.V.D.
Elevation Of Permanent Pool: 348 Ft. N.G.V.D.
Elevation Of Flood Pool: 357 Ft. N.G.V.D.
Drainage Area: 27.27 Sq. Mi.
Project Acres: 1,254 Acres
Permanent Pool: 692 Acres
Floodwwater Retarding Pool: 1,003 Acres
Total Capacity: 15,031 Ac Ft
Recreational And Sediment Pool: 9,072 Ac Ft
Floodwater Retarding: 5,886 Ac Ft
Width Of Auxillary Spillway: 400 Feet
Dam Area: 45 Acres
Dam Location:
    UTM Coordinates 351000 East And 1515500 North,
    (Zone 15) On The Garrison West, Texas, USGS Map
Recreational Park: 35 Acres
Inundation:
    4.0 Miles of Naconiche Creek and 2.8 Miles of Telesco Creek
Open Water, Permanent Pool: 240 Acres
Wooded Acres Permanent Pool: 452 Acres
Acres Around Perimeter Of Reservoir To Be Protected As Buffer
Zones, Riparian Zones, Wetlands, Created Wetlands, Wildlife Habitat: 562 Acres

 

More information, including maps, can be found at the Lake Naconiche Website, and on the Lake Naconiche Facebook Page

Striker

Location:
Striker Creek Dam and Striker Creek Reservoir are in the Neches River Basin in Rusk County, 18 miles southwest of Henderson on Striker Creek, a tributary to the Angelina River, which is tributary to the Neches River. The reservoir extends into Rusk and Cherokee Counties.

Ownership and History of Development:
The project is owned and operated by the Angelina and Nacogdoches Counties Water Control and Improvement District No.1. Water rights were obtained by Permit No. 1808 (Application No. 1946) dated January 25, 1956 from the State Board of Water Engineers to the District. The Permit allows annual diversion of 5,600 acre-feet of water for municipal and 15,000 acre-feet for industrial purposes from an authorized storage of 26,500 acre-feet. Permit No. 1830 (Application No. 1974) dated June 18, 1956 from the State Board of Water Engineers to the District amended the original permit by changing the location of the dam slightly and increasing the storage capacity by 460 acre-feet to an estimated total capacity of 26,960 acre-feet.

The industrial water is used by the Texas Power & Light Company for condenser-cooling water for a steam-electric generating station and by the Southland Paper Company, which has contracted to purchase 10,000 acre-feet of water annually.

Construction began July 23, 1956, and was completed in July 1957. Closure was made and impoundment of water started in the early part of May 1957. Actual use began later in May 1957 at which time the reservoir was almost full.

Physical Description:
The dam is an earth fill structure with an impervious earth core, 2,400 feet long and 42 feet high, with the top of the dam at elevation 309.0 feet above msl. The embankment has a maximum bottom width of 250 feet and top width of 25 feet. The embankment contains about 376,000 cubic yards of fill. The upstream face is protected by 24 inches of rock riprap.

The reservoir has a capacity of 26,960 acre-feet and a surface area of 2,400 acres at normal operating elevation of 292.0 feet above msl (top of taintor gates). This includes about 9,000 acre-feet of storage below the spillway or lowest gravity release. The power plant water is pumped from the reservoir through the turbine condenser and back to the reservoir at a distant point from the intake for circulation and cooling. The only consumptive use of water is forced evaporation caused by heat added to the reservoir and plant-service water supply.

The drainage area is 182 square miles.

The service spillway is a concrete, ogee-type structure with net crest length of 140 feet at elevation 282.0 feet above msl. The discharge through the service spillway is controlled by four 35-foot-wide by 10-foot-high taintor gates.

The emergency spillway, located at the right end of the dam, has a crest length of 600 feet at elevation 294.0 feet above msl.

The low-flow outlet is a valve-controlled, 24-inch concrete pipe with invert at elevation 282.0 feet above msl, with discharge to the channel of the service spillway structure.

Lake Kurth

Location:
Kurth Dam and Lake Kurth in the Neches River Basin in Angelina County, 8 miles north of Lufkin, are an off-channel storage project of the Angelina River, which is a tributary to the Neches River.

Ownership and History of Development:
The project is owned and operated by the Southland Paper Mills, Inc. for industrial use in producing paper. A large part of the water diverted is returned to the Angelina River.

Water rights were obtained by Southland Paper Mills, Inc. through Permit No. 1912 (Application No. 2063) dated June 3, 1958 from the State Board of Water Engineers. This Permit allows the construction of an off-channel lake to store 16,200 acre-feet of water, and it allows the annual use of 19,100 acre-feet. In addition to the water allocated under this Permit, 10,000 acre feet of water may be purchased annually from Striker Creek Reservoir of the Angelina and Nacogdoches Counties Water Control and Improvement District No.1. The construction contract was awarded and work was begun May 26, 1959.

It was completed July 21, 1961. Water pumping started in September 1961, and the lake was full at the end of that year, but use of water did not start until 1962.

Physical Description:
The dam or levee is 8,600 feet long with an average height of 37 feet and top elevation at 206.0 feet above msl. The earth embankment has a maximum bottom width of 242 feet and a top width of 16 feet. The upstream face is protected with a 6-inch concrete slab on a 10-inch gravel base from elevation 185.0 t o 203.0 feet above msl. The dam contains 1,624,000 cubic yards of earth.

The lake has a capacity of 16,200 acre-feet and a surface area of 800 acres at spillway crest elevation 197.5 feet above msl. The lake is held at normal level by pumping from the river flow or from water purchased from Striker Creek Reservoir, which is released to the river channel. This pumped storage makes the 4-square-mile drainage area to the lake unimportant.

The pumping installation at the river is a vertical concrete shaft with four vertical pumps having a total capacity of 53,000 gpm (gallons per minute) at a pumping head of 50 feet. The discharge is to a lined canal 1,900 feet long leading to the lake.

The spillway is a 25- by 15-foot, uncontrolled, rectangular intake with the crest at elevation 197.5 feet above msl. The discharge is through two concrete conduits, 10 feet wide by 5 feet high, with invert at elevation 180.0 feet above msl. Since this is a pumped storage project, a low-flow release conduit is not required.

Lake Tyler

Location:
Whitehouse Dam and Lake Tyler are in the Neches River Basin in Smith County, 12 miles southeast of Tyler on Prairie Creek, a tributary of Mud Creek, which is tributary to the Angelina River, which in turn is tributary to the Neches River.

Ownership and History of Development:
The project is owned and operated by the city of Tyler.

Water rights to 30,000 acre-feet of water annually for municipal, domestic, and industrial use was obtained by Permit No. 1435 (Application No. 1546) dated March 25, 1945 from the State Board of Water Engineers. This authorization was amended by Permit No. 1843 (Application No. 1988) dated October 1, 1956 increasing total diversion to 50,000 acre-feet of water, including the 20,000 acre-feet from Mud Creek Reservoir. This Permit also authorized raising the dam and spillway 1 foot, which increased the storage capacity of Lake Tyler by 1,100 acre-feet. Lake Tyler is connected to the Mud Creek Reservoir (Lake Tyler East) by a canal, and the two reservoirs are operated as one unit. Construction work was started on Mud Creek Dam February 11, 1966 and impoundment of water began November 22, 1966.

Construction of Whitehouse Dam began April 30, 1948 with deliberate impoundment of water beginning January 8, 1949. The structure was completed and accepted May 13, 1949.

Records of contents from March 1949 through September 30, 1957 are contained in Bulletin 5807-A of the State Board of Water Engineers and from March 1949 in publications of the U. S. Geological Survey.

Physical Description:
The dam is a rolled-earth structure 4,703 feet long and 50 feet high with the top of the dam at elevation 390.0 feet above msl. The upstream face of the embankment is protected with 24 inches of rock riprap on a 9-inch gravel base from elevation 355.0 feet above msl to the top of the dam. The spillway height has been raised 1 foot above the original design.

The lake has a capacity of 43,400 acre-feet and a surface area of 2,450 acres at spillway crest level of 375.5 feet above msl. It is used for the city of Tyler's water supply and for public recreation. Additional capacities of Lake Tyler are as follows:

Feature Elevation
(feet above msl)
Capacity
(acre-feet)
Top of dam 390 --
Maximum design flood stage 384.3 66,000
Spillway crest 375.5 43,400
Invert of upper sluice gate 362 17,000
Invert of middle sluice gate 356 9,700
Invert of lower sluice gate 350 4,400

Reservoir capacities based on 1948-49 survey.

The drainage area above the dam is 45 square miles.

The service spillway is about 300 feet from the left end of the dam. It is an uncontrolled concrete chute flume with crest length of 200 feet at elevation 375.5 feet above msl. Water discharges to a stilling basin, then through a channel to the creek 1,000 feet downstream from the dam. The maximum design discharge is 17,500 cfs with lake elevation at 384.3 feet above msl.

The diversion facility for Tyler's water supply is located about 2 miles upstream from the dam. The intake tower is equipped with three pairs of circular sluice gates: one pair at elevation 362.0, one pair at elevation 356.0, and one pair at elevation 350.0 feet above msl. The water flows from the intake through a 48-inch concrete pipe, 660 feet long, to the pumphouse and then delivered through 2 pipelines to the filter plant or to a raw-water storage lake 8 miles away. Two 12-inch, cast iron pipes are installed through the base of the dam for future municipal water supply to other cities.

Lake Tyler East

Location:
Mud Creek Dam and Mud Creek Lake are in the Neches River Basin in Smith County, 12 miles southeast of Tyler on Mud Creek, a tributary of the Angelina River, which is a tributary to the Neches River.

Ownership and History of Development:
The project is owned and will be operated by the city of Tyler in connection with present Lake Tyler for a municipal water supply. Permit No. 1843 (Application No. 1988) dated October 1, 1956 from the Board of Water Engineers authorized the construction of a dam creating a lake of approximately 43,100 acre-feet capacity. The Permit authorizes annual diversion of 20,000 acre-feet of water from this lake for municipal use. The Permit further authorizes alterations to Whitehouse Dam increasing the capacity of Lake Tyler (See Project No. 68). The Permit limits the total diversion from the two lakes to 50,000 acre-feet annually.

Land purchase and clearing began January 21, 1959. However, the project was delayed and actual construction did not start until February 11, 1966. Closure was made and deliberate impoundment of water began November 22, 1966. The dam was completed in December 1966.

Physical Description:
The dam is a compacted-earth structure with a concrete spillway near the center. The dam is 50 feet high above the streambed with a total length of 4,700 feet. The top of the dam is 20 feet wide with crest elevation 390.0 feet above msl. The embankment slopes are 2.5 to 1 with the upstream face protected with 18 inches of rock riprap placed on an 18-inch gravel base from elevation 366.0 to 386.0 feet above msl. The downstream face will be sodded with bermuda grass for protection.

The lake has a capacity of 44,000 acre-feet and an area of 2,570 acres at elevation 376.0 feet above msl. This new lake is connected to present Lake Tyler with an excavated canal with the bottom at elevation 355.0 feet above msl.

The drainage area above the dam is 65 square miles.

The spillway located near the center of the dam is a reinforced concrete structure with a broad-crested weir with a crest length of 300 feet at elevation 376.0 feet above msl. The spillway discharge basin has a length of 240 feet and slopes from the crest to the end of the basin at elevation 322.0 feet above msl. Chute blocks, baffle blocks and end wall are installed on the last 19 feet of the concrete basin slab. Beyond the end wall the channel floor is protected for an additional 50 feet with 2 feet of large rock on a 1-foot gravel blanket.

The low-flow outlet is a 260-foot long 20-inch steel cylinder concrete pipe extending from a concrete basin near the upstream toe through the embankment. The pipe is further encased in concrete with anti-seepage collars spaced 40-feet apart. The discharge will be controlled by a slide valve with the operating rod extending up the embankment. The slide valve flange is located with invert at elevation 346.75 feet above msl. A valve will be installed on the downstream end of the pipe for additional control and future water supply connection.

Lake Timpson

Lake Timpson is located in Shelby County. The Shelby County Freshwater Supply District is the controlling authority. Primary uses are water supply and recreation. This reservoir has a surface area of 223 acres, a shoreline length of 8 miles, and an average depth of 8 feet. Water level fluctuations average 1-3 feet annually. Boat and bank access is adequate, with one boat ramp present.

  • Year constructed: 1956
  • Controlling authority: Shelby County Freshwater Supply District
  • County: Shelby
  • Reservoir type: Mainstream
  • Shoreline Development Index (SDI): 3.8
  • Mean depth: 8 feet
  • Size: 223 acres
  • Secchi disc: 2-4 feet
  • Conductivity: 120 umhos/cm

Lake Jacksonville

Location:
Gum Creek Dam and Lake Jacksonville are in the Neches River Basin in Cherokee County, 5 miles southwest of Jacksonville on Gum Creek, a tributary of Tails Creek, which is a tributary to the Neches River.

Ownership and History of Development:
The project is owned and operated by the city of Jacksonville for municipal water supply and for recreation. Water rights were obtained by Permit No. 1784 (Application No. 1928) dated October 10, 1955 from the State Board of Water Engineers to the city of Jacksonville. The Permit allows storage of 30,500 acre-feet of water and annual use of 5,000 acre-feet for municipal and 10,000 acre-feet for recreational use.

Construction of the dam began early in 1956, and was completed in June 1957 with impoundment of water beginning before that date. The lake was full for the first time, and water discharged through the service spillway on December 2, 1957.

Physical Description:
The dam is an earth fill structure about 2,700 feet long and 72 feet high above the streambed with top elevation at 435.0 feet above msl. The embankment has a maximum bottom width of 436 feet and top width of 16 feet, with a volume of 655,400 cubic yards of earth fill Between elevations 412.0 and 432.0 feet above msl, the upstream face is paved with 15 inches of rock riprap placed on a sand bed.

The lake has a capacity of 30,500 acre-feet and a surface area of 1,320 acres at the service spillway crest elevation of 422.0 feet above msl. At elevation 431.0 feet above msl, the capacity is 46,500 acre-feet with a surface area of 1,760 acres.

The drainage area is 41 square miles.

The service spillway is a rectangular box-type inlet with the entrance lip at elevation 422.0 feet above msl. The discharge is to a 6-foot-square conduit through the embankment to a pilot channel and thence to Gum Creek. The uncontrolled emergency spillway, located a short distance beyond the right end of the dam, is an earth section with crest length of 350 feet at elevation 431.0 feet above msl.

The low-flow outlet, with invert at 372.0 feet above msl, is an 18-inch concrete pipe encased in concrete. The discharge is controlled by a plug valve with the operating rod extending up the embankment to above normal, maximum water level.

Lake Palestine

Location:
Blackburn Crossing Dam and Lake Palestine are in the Neches River Basin in Anderson and Cherokee Counties, 4 miles east of Frankston on the Neches River. The lake extends into Henderson and Smith Counties.

Ownership and History of Development:
The project is owned and operated by the Upper Neches River Authority for industrial, municipal, and recreational purposes. Water rights were obtained by the Authority through Permit No. 1832 (Application No. 1975) dated July 12, 1956 from the State Board of Water Engineers. The Permit authorized the construction of a dam in three stages: the first stage covered planning; the second stage covered building a dam creating a reservoir of 30,500 acre-feet capacity; and the third stage covered enlarging a dam to create a reservoir of 410,000 acre-feet capacity. The State Board of Water Engineers extended time of starting construction by Permit No. 1832A dated June 13, 1958 and Permit No. 1832B dated December 30, 1959. The Permits allow an ultimate storage of 410,000 acre-feet of floodwaters and unappropriated waters of the Neches River with an annual use of 84,000 acre-feet for industrial use and 112,000 acre-feet for municipal use. As of December 31, 1966, no water had been used from the reservoir, however, the city of Tyler had contracted for water and Palestine was negotiating a contract for municipal water supply.

Construction of the dam began May 30, 1960, and the second phase of the project was completed June 13, 1962. Actual storage of water began in June 1961 with the completion of the outlet works, but the deliberate impoundment date is recorded as May 1, 1962.

Records of contents from February 1, 1962 are contained in publications of the U. S. Geological Survey.

Physical Description:
The present dam is a rolled-earth structure 4,000 feet long, including the spillway, and 53 feet high above streambed with the top of the dam at elevation 343.4 feet above msl. The present maximum bottom width is 332 feet and the top width is 65 feet, which allows for a future enlargement raising the top of the dam to elevation 364.0 feet above msl. Part of the upstream face is protected with rock riprap on a 9-inch sand base.

The present lake has a capacity of 30,500 acre-feet and a surface area of 4,000 acres at elevation 317.0 feet above msl, the design operating level. At the emergency spillway crest elevation of 322.0 feet above msl, the capacity is 57,550 acre-feet with a surface area of 6,800 acres. Other capacities of the present lake are given in the following tabulation.

Feature Elevation
(feet above msl)
Capacity
(acre-feet)
Area
(acres)
Top of dam 343.4 -- --
Emergency spillway crest 322.0 57,550 6,800
Design operating level 317.0 30,500 4,000
Invert of low-flow outlet 309.5 10,600 1,700
Invert of 8.5-foot-conduit 298.0 550 400

An enlargement of Lake Palestine is planned to raise operating level to 345.0 feet, total storage capacity to 410,000 acre-feet, and surface area to 25,500 acres.

Reservoir capacities and surface areas based on U. S. Geological Survey topographic maps surveyed in 1957.

The drainage of the Neches River above the Blackburn Crossing Dam is 839 square miles.

The present emergency spillway near the left end of the dam is an uncontrolled, broad-crested weir section excavated into the natural rock bank with a crest length of 500 feet at elevation 322.0 feet above msl. With the enlargement of this project, the spillway will be raised by constructing a concrete ogee weir section at elevation 345.0 feet above msl.

The outlet works near the right end of the dam consist of a gated concrete tower connected to an 8.5-foot-diameter conduit through the dam with invert at elevation 298.0 feet above msl. A concrete and steel walkway at elevation 355.0 feet above msl connects the dam with the top of the tower. Floodwater release through two 5- by 7-foot openings at the base of the tower at elevation 298.0 feet above msl is controlled by two 6- by 8-foot gates. These gates are located in a rectangular section upstream from where the transition to one circular conduit is located. The discharge from the conduit is through a chute or Parshall flume with measuring equipment and thence to the river channel.

The low-flow outlets are two 36-inch, valve-controlled, cast-iron pipes connecting to compartments in the tower structure. Inlet to these compartments are at various elevations--the lowest one with invert at elevation 309.5 feet above msl. The other inlets are at elevations 312.5, 322.5, and 332.5 feet above msl. The bottom two have slide gates for control of inlet water; gates for the other two will be installed when the dam is enlarged. These 36-inch pipes discharge into the 8.5-foot-diameter conduit and thence to the river channel.

Lake Sam Rayburn

Location:
Sam Rayburn Dam and Sam Rayburn Reservoir, formerly known as McGee Bend Dam and McGee Bend Reservoir, are in the Neches River Basin in Jasper County, 11 miles northwest of Jasper on the Angelina River, a tributary of the Neches River. The reservoir extends into Angelina, Sabine, San Augustine, and Nacogdoches Counties.

Ownership and History of Development:
The project is owned by the U. S. Government, and is operated by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, Fort Worth District. The local agency to purchase water storage rights is the Lower Neches Valley Authority. "A" Permit No. 2124 (Application No. 2298) dated October 13, 1964 was issued by the Texas Water Commission to the Lower Neches Valley Authority (Authority has purchased storage space in reservoir). This permit allows the annual use of 820,000 acre-feet of water annually from Sam Rayburn and Dam B Reservoir. The water use is allocated as follows: 50,000 acre-feet for municipal use, 660,000 acre-feet for industrial use and 10,000 acre-feet for annual irrigation of 55,000 acres of land in Chambers, Liberty and Jefferson Counties. The permit sets the maximum rate of diversion at 2,000 cfs and allows the use of the bed and banks of the Neches River and Pine Island Bayou for the distribution of the released water.

This is the second project in the plan of improvement of the watershed (Dam B is in operation; Dam A and Rockland Dam on the Neches River are authorized). Sam Rayburn Dam was authorized under the name McGee Bend Dam by the River and Harbor Act approved March 2, 1945 , 79th Congress, first session, and modified by River and Harbor Act of June 30, 1948 (Public Law 858), 80th Congress, second session. The development is designed to control and regulate floods, generate power , and conserve water for municipal, industrial, agricultural, and recreational purposes.

Construction of the project started September 7, 1956 and was completed July 1, 1966. Deliberate impoundment of water began March 29, 1965. The project was dedicated May 8, 1965. Power generation began July 1, 1966. Record of contents since January 15, 1965, in publications of the U. S. Geological Survey.

Over 990,000 visitors were reported at the Sam Rayburn Reservoir during 1966.

Physical Description:
The dam consists of an earth embankment, concrete power-intake structure, and flood-control outlet works located near the right end of the dam. The total length is 19,430 feet with a height of 120 feet and the top of the dam at elevation 190.0 feet above msl. The upstream slope of the embankment is protected by 27 inches of rock riprap. Other features are listed at the close of this section. A State highway crosses the top of the dam.

The reservoir has a total capacity of 2,852,600 acre-feet and a surface area of 114,550 acres at the top of the power and conservation storage space at elevation 164.0 feet above msl. The flood-control storage is shown in the table on the next page. Recreation facilities is part of this development. The drainage area is 3,449 square miles.

An uncontrolled broad-crested weir spillway, with crest length of 2,200 feet at elevation 176.0 feet above msl, has a discharge capacity of 125,300 cfs with water surface level at elevation 183.0 feet above msl. The two outlet structures at this reservoir level will discharge 22,100 cfs.

The outlets for floodwater releases are two 10- by 20-foot tractor-type gate-controlled conduits 180 feet long. Conservation water may be released by these gates or through the operation of the power units at variable capacity to meet the water requirements.

Two power units with a capacity of 26,000 kw each with all necessary auxiliary equipment are installed in the power house. Power generation began July 1, 1966.

Pertinent data on the dam and reservoir are listed as follows:
Type of dam: Earth fill
Length of Dam: 19,430 feet including spillway
Maximum height of dam: 120 feet
Top width of dam: 42 feet
Crest elevation of spillway: 176.0 feet
Length of spillway (net): 2,200 feet
Type of spillway: Broad-crested weir (uncontrolled)

Feature Elevation
(feet above msl)
Capacity
(acre-feet)
Area
(acres)
Top of dam 190.0 -- --
Maximum design flood stage 183.0 5,610,000 180,000
Spillway crest 176.0 4,442,400 153,810
Top flood-control storage space 173.0 3,997,600 142,710
Top power-storage space 164.0 2,852,600 113,410
Power-head and sediment storage space 149.0 1,452,000 74,040
Invert of flood-control outlet works 105.0 21,940 4,170

Reservoir capacities and surface areas based on U. S. Geological Survey topographic maps and detailed sedimentation ranges run by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers in 1961.

B.A. Steinhagen Reservoir

Location:
Dam B and Dam B Reservoir are in the Neches River Basin in both Tyler and Jasper Counties, 1 mile north of Town Bluff on the Neches River at river mile 113.7.

Ownership and History of Development:
The project is owned by the United States Government, and was authorized by the River and Harbor Act of March 2, 1945 in the first session of the 79th Congress. It was built and is operated by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, Fort Worth District.

The Lower Neches Valley Authority, the cooperative State agency, has purchased the right for use of the 77,600 acre-feet of conservation storage with a maximum rate of diversion of 2,000 cfs.

Construction started in March 1947. The dam and outlet works were completed, and deliberate impoundment of water began April 16, 1951.

Records of reservoir elevation and contents from April 16, 1951 through September 30, 1957 are contained in the State Board of Water Engineers Bulletin 5807-A and from April 16, 1951 in publications of the U. S. Geological Survey.

More than 876,000 visitors were reported at Dam B Reservoir during 1966.

Physical Description:
The dam is a compacted-earth structure with a concrete section across the river channel. The embankment serves as an uncontrolled spillway, and is protected from wave action by a 6-inch concrete slab. Overall length is 6,698 feet, and the maximum height is 45 feet. The top of the dam is 25 feet wide at an elevation of 95.0 feet above msl.

The reservoir is designed for surge regulation in a system operation, and is used currently for conservation storage, recreation, wildlife management, and partial flood regulation. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission has licensed 13,200 acres for wildlife management.

Data on elevations and capacities in the following table are from U. S. Army Corps of Engineers' publications:

Feature Elevation
(feet above msl)
Capacity
(acre-feet)
Area
(acres)
Top of dam 95.0 306,400 28,210
Maximum design flood stage 93.0 124,700 16,830
Top of taintor gates and uncontrolled spillway crest 85.0 124,700 16,830
Normal water level 83.0 94,200 13,700
Invert of low-flow outlets 52.0 20 20
Sill of six taintor gates 50.0 0 0
Sediment reserve in conservation storage space -- 16,600 --

Reservoir capacities and surface areas based on survey by U. S. Army Corps of Engineers made in 1945.

The drainage area above the dam is 7,573 square miles. The service spillway at the right end of the dam has a net crest length of 240 feet at elevation 50.0 feet above msl, which is controlled by six taintor gates, 40 feet long by 35 feet high. The discharge capacity of the spillway is 80,000 cfs with reservoir water level at elevation 85.0 feet above msl.

The uncontrolled spillway is 6,100 feet long with crest elevation of 85.0 feet above msl. The embankment is protected by a 6-inch-thick layer of reinforced concrete. The total discharge capacity of the two spillways at maximum design flood-stage elevations of 93.0 feet above msl is 218,300 cfs.

There are two, 4- by 6-foot, gate-controlled conduits for low-flow releases, with invert at elevation 52.0 feet above msl.

Construction of the Robert D Willis hydropower project began in 1987 with it being available for commercial use on November 17 1989.

The purposes of B. A. Steinhagen Lake are to reregulate the intermittent power releases of Sam Rayburn Dam, provide head for hydroelectric power and diversion into a water supply canal, and provide some water storage. The Southwestern Power Administration, U. S. Department of Energy, markets the power and energy generated by the hydropower plant to the Sam Rayburn Municipal Power Agency for distribution to its customers in Jasper, Liberty, and Livingston, Texas and Vinton, Louisiana. Water releases are utilized by the Lower Neches Valley Authority in Beaumont, Texas, for rice culture, salinity control, pollution abatement, municipal, and industrial uses.

The Lower Neches Valley Authority (LNVA), an agency of the State of Texas, contributed $2,000,000 toward the construction of the Town Bluff Project. In return, LNVA is authorized to draw from the lake a maximum of 2,000 cubic feet per second (cfs). This water allotment is available to the agency whenever needed, and in the instances of demand, the water is taken directly through the Town Bluff Dam tainter gates. However, if the lake's normal pool capacity is not adequate to satisfy the requirements over an extended period of time, Sam Rayburn Dam can release conservation water into B. A. Steinhagen Lake, which will in turn release the water to meet downstream demands.

Pinkston Reservoir

Pinkston Reservoir is an impoundment of Sandy Creek, a tributary of the Attoyac Bayou in the Neches River Basin. The City of Center is the controlling authority. Primary uses are water supply and recreation. This reservoir has a surface area of 447 acres at conservation pool (300 feet msl), a shoreline length of 4 miles, an average depth of 20 feet and a maximum depth of 45 feet. Water level fluctuations average 5 feet annually. Boat access is available with two boat ramps present, but they are in need of repair. Bank access is adequate.

A county road crosses the upper portion of the reservoir and isolates over 100 acres of water that is connected to the main lake only by a large culvert under the road. Small boats can go through the culvert or be launched from the county road to access this portion of the lake. The limited access reduces fishing pressure to this portion of the lake.

Information Sources

The majority of the information presented here is from TWDB Report 48: Dams and Reservoirs in Texas,
Historical and Descriptive Information.
Originally published December 31, 1966